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South Korean crypto exchange Upbit loses $49M worth of ether in security breach

Wed, 27 Nov 2019, 10:59 am UTC

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit has confirmed that it has lost 342,000 ETH (approximately $49 million) from its wallets.

In a blog post dated Nov. 27, Lee Seok-woo, CEO of Upbit operator Dunamu, said that the loss will be covered by Upbit’s assets.

“At 1:06 PM on November 27, 2019, 342,000 ETH (approximately 58 billion won) were transferred from the Upbit Ethereum Hot Wallet to an unknown wallet. Unknown wallet address is 0xa09871AEadF4994Ca12f5c0b6056BBd1d343c029,” he said (via online translation).

As a precautionary measure, the exchange has suspended deposits and withdrawals and estimated these services to resume in “at least two weeks.”

CoinDesk reported that over $100 million worth of multiple cryptocurrencies have been sent out from the exchange today. However, Upbit said that apart from the aforementioned ETH transaction, the bulk of other transactions involved moving cryptos from hot wallets to cold wallets to prevent further breach.

Citing data from Whale Alert, the news portal said that $1.51 million-worth of tron (TRX) and $3.5 million in BitTorrent (BTT) were also sent to unknown blockchain addresses from around 5:00 UTC. This was followed by transactions involving $8.7 million-worth of stellar (XLM), $1.08 million in OmiseGo (OMG), $22 million in EOS, and $3.4 million in status (SNT), which were transacted from Upbit’s wallets to those of Bittrex.

Update: In a tweet, crypto analyst Joseph Young said, "The "hacker" timed when UPbit was making crypto transfers to its cold wallet (other alts like TRON, etc.) Hence, I think the probability of it being an inside job is higher than external breach. No details are certain for now."

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